Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Yakult 3K Race: A Struggle To The Finish

After spending 2 hours with Wayne (the SF Runner) and another 1 hour at the Nike Running Clinic Orientation, my son Gio expressed his desire to run 3k at the Yakult Race today. When Eia overheard our conversation, she too wanted to join.

Although I was ecstatic that my children finally decided to join a race, I had fears that it would be a nightmare waking them up very early in the morning.

It turned out that I worried for nothing.
Eia miraculously rose from her deep slumber at exactly 4 o'clock this morning and had no qualms getting ready for her first 3k Race

I woke up Gio 30 minutes later and by 5AM, were were already out of Philamlife Village.

So far, so good.

Finding the race venue was easy. One cannot miss the gigantic Yakult bottle situated near the startling line.

After meeting up with Quennie (she's not registered for this race but Jinoe will run the full 16k), we immediately began our picture taking while we still look fresh.

For the first time, my friend Jenny won't be the official photographer. She will also join the 3k race as explicitly requested by Eia. Romy, my mother's driver for 30 years and also my son's godfather, will be our official photographer.

I had the chance to meet Doc Gigi but she seemed to be in a hurry so we didn't have any photo with her.

Upon hearing that the race was about to begin, Gio wanted to go in already.
But everybody else wanted to have another photo shoot.

3 more shots while waiting for our turn inside the assembly area:

The 10 milers were the first to go, followed by the 5k runners. There was only a handful of 3k participants left. I told Gio he had a good chance to win but it's OK even if he didn't finish first. He could just walk when he gets tired. Quennie assured him that she will accompany him every step of the way.

At the sound of the gun, Quennie and Gio immediately disappeared from our sight.

For a while, Eia also ran very fast but complained of stomach ache soon after.

We didn't even reach Roxas Blvd. yet when she told me that she's tired already.

I didn't pressure her to run some more but Jenny and I just walked at her pace.
Then I thought of Gio who could be thirsty by now. The water and gatorade were at my backpack so I ran and left Eia with Jenny.

Queenie and Gio were already on their way back when I catched up with them.

Baby, Bro J's swthrt passed by and I was happy to see her in perfect running form.
The 3k turnaround was very near so I decided to run ahead and got my straw.

When I went back, Eia didn't want to walk anymore. I had to carry her 30-lb weight up to the 3k turnaround.

She agreed to walk again but upon seeing Max's Restaurant, she demanded that we go there at once!

When I explained to her that we had to go back first where we started, that was when the real trouble erupted.
Eia started to scream and cry.

My heart was torn to pieces with Eia's behavior, blaming myself for allowing such an ordeal to happen.
Fortunately, Romy showed up. He convinced Eia to ride on his back and thank God she did!

Eia was back in her jolly mood again.

My cousin's son Paolo passed by walking and I told him I could run with him but he told me he couldn't run anymore unless he drinks water. I gave him water and after drinking, I ran with him but only until the right turn to the finish line.

When I turned around, I saw Vener waiting for Christy who was running the whole 16k!

It was a totally different Eia when I went back for her. She was sitting on the ground like a statue. Jenny and I had a hard time convincing her to walk again but she eventually rose and moved on. When we turned right towards the finish line, I thought she would be happy but she insisted to go directly to our car.

By this time, a number of people were clapping their hands and prodding her to go on while the motorcycle escort was cruising just beside us.

I ran towards the finish line to get a good shot at Eia and there was Vimz, who took my "finish" look. Thanks a lot, Vimz!

When I turned around, I was surprised to see Eia running with all her power and might!

I almost cried as I watched Eia sprinting her way to the finish line. In spite of the difficulty she went through, she made it. I knew then, this daughter of mine though born with Down Syndrome will battle every trial that comes her way. She was the last to finish, but in my heart Eia is a true champion.

Quennie and Gio were there waiting for us. Thank you, thank you Que for staying with Gio every step of the way. She took this shot of Gio at the finish line:

Congratulations, Gio! I am so proud of you. I'm dreaming of more future races together.

After Que gave me my additional order of 10 visors, we said goodbye to each other. But I still need to see my cousin Jun to get my pasalubong of sweet sampaloc from Thailand. While waiting for him, Que told me that Patrick Concepcion was approaching the finish line. I took this picture of him and tried to catch him but he disappeared in a flash.

Finally, I met my cousin Jun with his new recruits. See you all at the UP ICTUS Run!